Smart Thermometer Gives Insight To COVID Illness Trends

Apr 27, 2020

A smart thermometer company says its data show that Allegheny County’s social distancing efforts are paying off.

According to a map on Kinsa's website, for more than two weeks, very few users of its internet-connected thermometers in the Pittsburgh region had fevers.

Chart of Kinsa's Allegheny County data.
Credit Kinsa

“The actions that people are taking or breaking the chain of infection for not just COVID-19, but for everything: cold, flu and other things,” said Inder Singh, founder of Kinsa and a Pittsburgh native.

Kinsa’s data measures the percent of its customers who are ill, not the raw number of infections in an area.

People are still getting sick with COVID-19, so it's not a perfect tool for measuring the prevalence of the novel coronavirus in a community; but it is an indicator that illness levels are declining.

Kinsa's data of Manhattan, New York City.
Credit Kinsa

For example, in New York City, a coronavirus hotspot, Kinsa data showed temperatures were atypically high for most of March. However, in the Pittsburgh area, there were just a handful of days when fever data spiked above the normal range.

“The number one thing people need to know is that their sacrifices have saved lives,” said Singh.

And as social distancing starts to relax, Kinsa data could help predict flare-ups of COVID-19 illness across the country.